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Recent Graduate Shares Why Cadet Wings Is Right For You

Posted on June 22, 2023 at 3:38 PM by Kathrine Schmidt

     Recent Graduate Shares Why Cadet Wings Is Right For You

Written by: C/Maj Annabelle Towles, Cadet Wings Graduate #248


They say that once you’ve gotten hooked on the flying bug, you’ll have it the rest of your life. Some people are born with it; for others, it’s an acquired taste. Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’ve never fulfilled that dream. But, why? Flying is notoriously expensive. I was in the same boat–I’ve wanted to fly for as long as I can remember but, I never thought I’d be able to pay for it. Civil Air Patrol changed all of that.

The Cadet Wings program provides full funding from solo through the completion of a Private Pilot Certificate. As detailed on the application site, ideal candidates already have some flight experience, but not much is necessary. I had some flight hours through other Civil Air Patrol programs and had soloed, but I was nowhere near my license. I desperately needed to finish my flight training before leaving for college, especially once I learned that I am a member of the incoming Air Force Academy class. If I had my license, I knew I would be eligible to join the Academy’s competitive flying team. If I didn’t, it would be too late and very difficult to finish my training on my own. Cadet Wings came to my rescue.

Cadet Wings is a program that just keeps giving. Once your flight school contract has been processed, you can simply walk into your local flight school and fly, as long and as often as your schedule permits so that you can complete your license as soon as possible, within your budget of course. The program also reimburses the test at the end of your training, known as the checkride. The program will also fund the ‘form 5’ with a Civil Air Patrol plane and evaluator, so that you finish the program not only with your Private Pilot Certificate, but qualified and permitted to fly Civil Air Patrol aircraft. Throughout the program, you will work with aviation experts and Civil Air Patrol members to guide your flight training and career exploration. I had the honor of working with Youth Aviation Panel Member, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Bailey, who frequently checked in on my progress and enabled each step of the process. Other cadets can choose a local mentor, known as a Navigator, to coach their training all the way.

Bottom line: Cadet Wings doesn’t “just” completely fund your flight training all the way through your checkride, it also allows you to rent and fly Civil Air Patrol aircraft and offers constant mentorship and accountability. The program is competitive. If you are a strong leader and passionate about what you do, with the natural track record such passion leaves, your chances are very good. To paraphrase a quote, “Don’t tell yourself the sky's the limit. There are footprints on the Moon.” This is the chance of a lifetime, and I am so grateful to be a graduate of Cadet Wings.

The Cadet Wings application will open July 1st. The Cadet Wings team will be hosting a webinar on Saturday June 24, at 6pm CDT to help you prepare for the application. To learn more about Cadet Wings please visit the website. 

C/Maj Towels, you are an inspiration and fine example to so many others! It's been a joy to watch you grow through this amazing cadet program over the last several years! I'm excited to see where you go in life! Blessings!!!
Velvet Sharp | 6/22/23 at 4:49 PM
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